For those of you that don’t know me, I’m passionate about what I do: work that strives to connect people and foster a sense of belonging at BroadReach – something that as social beings we not only crave but need. This, combined with trust, are essential to creating an engaged workforce. But how are you able to create this culture if you aren’t acutely tuned in and listening deeply to your audience…well the truth is, you aren’t – you’ll inevitably be off key.
Effective communication is one of the most important factors for an engaged team. Communication doesn’t work when we don’t listen to understand, all too often we listen just to reply or get our point across. Another important aspect is listening out for the cues that aren’t necessarily said out loud – something I am continually trying to master.
One of the greatest skills I learnt during my studies in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology -which sidenote, had no clue what I’d do with when I left university- was observation. It requires you to insert yourself into a slice of life. For example, for three months I spent three days a week in Pollsmoor Prison during my Honours year – to quietly, unobtrusively, and non-judgementally watch what was happening around me and most importantly, to listen – not only to the things said directly to me, but to the things people did and said to each other.
If you keep an open mind, fully observe, and listen you will understand your audience better i.e. what makes them happy, sad, frustrated or motivated. This nuanced understanding is key if you’re going to create an authentic culture that people choose to be an active part of.
Often it is the smallest things in communication that make the biggest difference – and this can be said for both positive and negative outcomes. It could be as simple as a line in a mailer that is slightly unclear that creates anxiety. Or a one-word hashtag that really hits people and motivates them to act and connect in a positive way. How do you know what has worked or hasn’t if you’re not hearing, if you’re not listening to what people are saying around you?
In 2022, as a business, let’s constantly challenge whether we are addressing the right things in our communications and campaigns.
And I couldn’t resist some musical inspiration (because everything is always better when you can bop along to a cool beat, wait for the drop!)…#turnupthevolume